Former Mesquite elem. school principal admits he molested boys

Mesquite police say a retired 30-year educator has confessed to molesting boys when he was principal at an elementary school.

Vernon Horsley admitted to inappropriately touching boys while he was the principal at Rugel Elementary School between 1965 and 1970, according to police.

Horsley cannot be charged for the crimes because when they occurred, there was a one-year statute of limitations on sex assault crimes.

Now, there is not. In 1975, the time limit increased to three years, and it was eliminated totally in 2007 for these types of offenses.

The molestations came to light recently when a victim, who is now very ill and fighting to live, told police what happened to him.

"Our complainant stated that during those years that Mr. Horsley had taken him into his office, as the principal at that location, and had set him on his knee and molested him," said Lt. Brian Parrish with the Mesquite Police Department.

In a YouTube video from a 1990 speaking event, Vernon said, "I get scared every time I get up before adults and my peers and I feel very comfortable with children, but not with adults."

"During the interview, Mr. Horsley admitted to having inappropriately touched a number of children," said Parrish. "In fact, he admitted to 10 different offenses."

Horsley would not interview with FOX 4's Shaun Rabb, but did admit to Rabb his mistakes and said that he wanted to apologize to his victims.

Before becoming principal at Rugel, he also served other schools in the Mesquite ISD. He was a teacher and a coach at Mesquite High School and served other places as well. A Mesquite ISD spokesperson said Horsley retired in 1988.

"If we have an admitted 10 victims from 1965 to 1970, I would say there's a good chance that we have victims we simply do not know about," said Parrish.

That's why police are working to locate more potential victims -- they believe there are some men who, as boys, were violated, and police believe it happened after the law changed in Texas.

Horsley still worked around children part-time in various capacities in the Mesquite district until about a few weeks ago.



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